It is almost hard to believe that Pokémon is celebrating its 25-year anniversary. What started as a trading card game has now become a media empire, with video games, TV series, movies, and of course, apparel, tied to its name.
With Pokémon's ever-growing popularity, we've seen the franchise collaborate with some of the biggest names in fashion – including Hiroshi Fujiwara's label fragment, Uniqlo, Levi's, Beams, Jeremy Scott, BAPE, Daniel Arsham, adidas, and so on. Its mobile game Pokémon Go also collaborated with luxury fashion house Gucci to make the Gucci x The North Face collection available to purchase (for your digital avatar) in the app.
So what is it about the lovable pocket monsters that is so exciting? Perhaps it is the feeling of childhood nostalgia, remembering watching Pikachu and Ash's adventures, or playing the card game with friends and debating whether Charmander, Bulbasaur, or Squirtle is the better starter Pokémon.
Recently, there's been a massive increase in the hype surrounding the Pokémon cards themselves. To be honest, I can't tell you what sparked it, but with multiple cards listed on eBay for over $40,000 and the most expensive card sale ever just below $400,000, former collectors might be sitting on goldmines. I forced my boyfriend to go through all of his old cards, but sadly, none were worth much...
The Pokémon franchise has also succeeded when it comes to activations. To celebrate its anniversary, it teamed up with London's Selfridges, Yahoo Ryot Lab, and designer Charli Cohen to create a three-day promotion where visitors could win a selection of limited-edition items. "The limited-edition physical collection focuses on Pikachu and for the first time ever uses the number 25 to coincide with Pikachu being 025 in the Pokedex and Pokémon’s 25th birthday,” said Cohen.
Other activations include a Macy's parade, an IRL Pokémon Go fest (pre-COVID times), and much more.
Its 25-year legacy stretches far, and the franchise will undoubtedly live on forever. Adults who grew up with the show are introducing it to their kids, Katy Perry wrote a song, streetwear fans are sporting limited-edition collections with Pikachu prints, Daniel Arsham is making sculptures, and McDonald's is giving away trading cards with its meals.
Whether you're a fan or not, no one can deny its vast influence on the fashion world. Because of the sheer amount of collaborations, you'd easily be able to dress head-to-toe in Pokémon gear, and that won't change anytime soon. As long as there's a demand, and a love for the recognizable cartoon creatures, the collaborations will keep rolling in.
It might have been 25 years ago since we were first introduced to the franchise, but it will still be just as relevant in another 25 years at this rate.